NEROCA FC will welcome Aizawl FC for an important I-League clash for both sides on Saturday. For Aizawl coach Paulo Meneses, it will be a chance for the defending champions to improve on their dismal league standing where they find themselves in a lowly sixth position with just 16 points from 12 games.
“It will be difficult because NEROCA are a good team. We expect a tough game but we are here to dignify our club so we will fight,” the Portuguese said at the pre-match press conference.
The Aizawl club is currently sweating on the fitness of Afghanistan defender Masih Saighani and Meneses informed the media that his participation on Saturday still remains unconfirmed.
“About Masih, we are waiting for good news. We are still waiting,” Meneses said.
“Masih is an important player and now even more because we do not have a central defender. Our squad is limited in some position and CB is one of those positions. But we will fight and play 11 vs 11,” he added.
Meanwhile for NEROCA, the game will represent a chance to leapfrog Minerva Punjab FC into the top spot in the league standings. The Manipur club currently finds itself two points behind the league leaders though the side has played game more than the Punjab-based club.
NEROCA coach Gift Raikhan conceded his side will be under pressure to get the win but feels his side is equipped to take on the challenge.
“There will always be pressure because we're on a very good run now. I feel pressure and all the players feel pressure. But football is all about pressure. We need to work hard. If we don't win, there is no chance to be champions. So we need to go away from the pressure and work hard,” Raikhan stated.